Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – With the forecast for Saturday’s scheduled Eastern States practice looking quite bleak, the Orange County Fair Speedway officials earlier in the week made the decision to move the practice to Friday.
The change to a weekday did not seem to affect the car count as 96 cars signed in to take advantage of the session. A beautiful evening with excellent track conditions made it a great night for the participants.
A few names that were maybe unexpected came in for the practice. Stewart Friesen, Alex Yankowski, Justin Holland, Richard Smith and Ryan Walther were among the non-regulars who took laps Friday.
Many cars were sporting sail panels in preparation for the Short Track Super Series event, The Hard Clay Finale.
The fastest time amongst the Modified/358 cars was posted by Dillon Steuer. Danny Creeden was 2nd fastest followed by Yankowski, Smith and Friesen.
With his #22 badly damaged from an Oswego wreck, Tanner VanDoren was at the wheel of the 01 owned by Charlie Lord. It will be Tanner’s ride for the 200 weekend.
More than 40 Sportsman cars took laps. Joey Bruning had the fastest lap for the division for the night. Michael Sabia was 2nd fastest followed by Tyler Johnston, Ryan Neiger and Anthony Falanga.
Tom Cilurso Jr. was the dominant Street Stock on Friday, posting fast time and topping the charts in all the sessions he ran. Tyler Romer was 2nd.
With the Street Stock race moving back to Sunday this year, Romer is looking forward to racing before the biggest crowd of the weekend.
“That’s an awesome move for us. For the full fenders leading off the day, it’s like the start of a big NASCAR day. It gives us a chance to show the big crowd that there’s some good drivers in this field.”
Tyler is excited about the prospects of a good Eastern States finish.
“The season has been a tough one. Losing 4 races to rain and we lost 2 motors. But with a lot of help from family, especially my dad, we are here. We’ll get the bugs worked out of it. Confidence is pretty high for next Sunday.”
Multi time Street Stock champion, Mike Vigiletti, says he is good with the schedule either way.
“I liked getting our race done early in the week. We camp here all weekend. Once our race was done, the car goes into the trailer and I would enjoy the rest of the weekend watching the Small Blocks and Big Blocks. But I do like racing before the big crowd on Sunday. Plus it’s a day race. I don’t mind it either way.”
Action resumes for the start of Eastern States Weekend on Friday, October 20th with the running of the Short Track Super Series race, The Hard Clay Finale.
The Sportsman will also be in action with their 50 lap championship race.